DALLAS -- Toyota Motor North America reported sharply higher U.S. sales in September on booming light trucks and the redesigned 2018 Camry, with the Lexus luxury division posting a rare monthly rise this year.
The Toyota division (including the defunct Scion brand) sold 17 percent more vehicles than in September of last year, and Lexus was up 1.5 percent for a combined increase of 15 percent, the company said. There was one additional selling day in September of this year compared with last year.
With four straight months of gains, Toyota North America moved into the black for the year so far with a 0.5 percent increase to 1.83 million vehicles sold.
"The auto industry showed renewed strength in September, bringing optimism for a third consecutive year with sales topping 17 million new vehicles," said Jack Hollis, general manager of the Toyota division. "This month marked our first full month of sales of the all-new 2018 Camry, outselling last year's total with a double-digit gain in volume."
Camry sales rose 13 percent last month after a long slide on changing consumer tastes. Three other Toyota cars posted gains: the low-volume Yaris sedan and hatchback, which more than doubled in sales, and the Corolla sedan and hatchback with a 1.5 percent bump. The niche hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai also gained 167 percent to 184 deliveries -- in the U.S., it's only sold in California.
Sales of Toyota's crossovers, SUVs and pickups rose sharply. The compact RAV4 was up 44 percent and posted its third straight month at more than 40,000 units, Toyota said.
Sales of the Highlander large crossover jumped 36 percent, the 4Runner SUV was up 25 percent and the Sienna minivan rose 2.6 percent. The all-new C-HR subcompact crossover sold just over 3,000 units vs. 2,901 in August.
Toyota's midsize Tacoma pickup posted a sales gain of 15 percent in September and the full-size Tundra was up 17 percent.
Sales of Lexus' light trucks continued to rise last month while its cars remained a weak spot. September marked just the second month Lexus has posted a sales gain for the year.